By Emmy Serviss / Boston
I think everyone knows by now that I love holidays.
I love decorating, I love thematic movies, I love festive food, I love color coordination and I love the spirit that everyone gets into around the holidays.
I love how red and pink suddenly go together on Valentine’s Day, not to mention the abundance of discount chocolate the day after! I love eating a green bagel while wearing a goofy green wig on St. Patrick’s Day. I love literally everything about Halloween, and I love all the beautiful Christmas music and cheesy rom-coms streaming on my steaming services.
But right smack between my two favorite holidays is the one that gives me the most inner turmoil.
To be clear, I do NOT love how the pilgrims treated the Native Americans, stole their land and committed atrocities – but that’s a different article. I DO love what Thanksgiving has come to represent in the more recent decades. Spending time with family and being thankful for what we have in our lives. (And cooking a big delicious meal!)
And that family can be your immediate family, your extended family, your close-knit friend group, your community, or you and your four cats. Family doesn’t have to mean blood – your family is whomever you choose.
Like most holidays as a kid, my parents and brother weren’t AS excited about them as I was. We had a handful of Thanksgiving decorations, I watched the Macy’s parade faithfully and my mom cooked the traditional components every year until I graduated from college. But then my persistent enthusiasm moved to the west coast, and everyone else let the Thanksgiving spirit dim.
Flying from the west coast back to New York was expensive, and since the rest of my family was ambivalent to the holiday, it didn’t seem worth it. So since 2004, I’ve become a Friendsgiving attendee primarily. Four Friendsgivings in Los Angeles, two in Oregon, and at least 10 while I’ve been in Boston.
Every now and my family and I would be able to coordinate, and we would have a family Thanksgiving. In 2010 we were all in the Pacific Northwest and I cooked. In 2017 we were in Ohio, and my brother’s girlfriend (now wife!) cooked, and then again in 2019 while they were living in Mississippi.
In 2020 during lockdown, I cooked a meal for my ex and myself, as an attempt at normalcy during “these trying times.” He was ambivalent at best. At worst, he was annoyed. In 2021 I stayed home and took the day to myself. It felt surprisingly okay. I was a little sad to not be with my family and to be recently(ish) single, but it was also nice to just take the day off and breathe.
I was planning on doing the same thing this year, but I wasn’t as excited about being alone on Thanksgiving as I was last year. But yesterday I received a last-minute invite to spend the holiday with my mom’s childhood friend, who lives in a Boston suburb. She reached out, fully expecting me to already have plans, and I was surprised but ecstatic to have the invite!
So while I may never have the traditional Thanksgiving with the big extended family, kid’s table, crazy uncle Bob and all the fixings, I think I have something better.
I have the love of my family, despite us living in different states.
I have the connections and communities that my family built.
I have an endless support network of my friends across the world.
I have a steady job, my apartment, my health and my cats.
I even have a new special someone in my life!
(More on that later)
And for all that, I am thankful.
Emmy Serviss is a Boston-based writer, actor and video editor. Once it is safe to return to live theater, you can find her performing with ComedySportz Boston and the sketch group SUZZY. When not on the stage, Emmy enjoys indulging in her new pandemic hobbies, laughing way too loudly and counting the days until Halloween.